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David W. Blight
David W. Blight
David W. Blight, Director

Blight is the author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Harvard University Press, 2001), which received seven book awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize as well as four awards from the Organization of American Historians, including the Merle Curti prizes for both intellectual and social history. He is also the author of a book of essays, Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, and the American Civil War (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); and Frederick Douglass's Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee (LSU Press, 1989). Blight is the editor of and author of introductions for six books, including When This Cruel War Is Over: The Civil War Letters of Charles Harvey Brewster (Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1992); Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (Bedford Books, 1993); co-editor with Robert Gooding-Williams, W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (Bedford Books, 1997); co-editor with Brooks Simpson, Union and Emancipation: Essays on Politics and Race in the Civil War Era (Kent State Univ. Press, 1997); and Caleb Bingham, The Columbian Orator (orig. 1797, NYU Press, 1997), the book of oratory and antislavery writings that Frederick Douglass discovered while a youth. The edited volume, Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory, was published by Smithsonian Press in August, 2004 and is the companion book for the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. Blight has also participated closely in the discovery and bringing to light of two new slave narratives in 2004 and will edit and introduce the forthcoming book, with Harcourt Press, “Rowing to Freedom: The Emancipation of John Washington and Wallace Turnage.”

Blight has also written many articles on abolitionism, American historical memory, and African American intellectual and cultural history. As of the 2000 and 2004 editions, he is one of the authors of the bestselling American history textbook for the college level, A People and a Nation (Houghton Mifflin). He is also series advisor and editor for the Bedford Books series in American History and Culture. Blight lectures widely on Douglass, Du Bois, and problems in public history and American historical memory. He teaches summer institutes for secondary teachers and for park rangers and historians in the National Park Service. He has also been a consultant to several documentary films, including the 1998 PBS series, "Africans in America," and "The Reconstruction Era" (2004). Blight has a Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has also taught at Harvard University, at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and for seven years was a public high school teacher in his hometown, Flint, Michigan. He was also senior Fulbright Professor in American Studies at the University of Munich in Germany in 1992-93. Blight was elected as a member of the Society of American Historians in 2002. In 2004 he was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Historical Society, and to the board for African American Programs at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Robert P. Forbes, Associate Director

Robert P. Forbes, is a lecturer in history at Yale University. After graduating summa cum laude in 1987 from the George Washington University, he received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1994. He has also taught at Wesleyan and Rutgers. He is the co-author of a biography of Francis Kernan, a nineteenth-century U.S. Senator from New York, as well as several articles and numerous encyclopedia entries. A revision of his dissertation, entitled "Slavery and the Meaning of America: The Missouri Compromise and its Aftermath" is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.

Yale University Advisory Committee

Jennifer Baszile, Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies
Jon Butler, Professor of History
Joanne Freeman, Professor of History
Paul Gilroy, Professor of African American Studies
Robert Harms, Professor of History
Matthew Frye Jacobson, Professor of American Studies
Gerald Jaynes, Professor of Economics and African American Studies
Gilbert Joseph, Professor of History
Stuart Schwartz, Professor of History
Robert Stepto, Professor of English

Board of Outside Advisers

James O. Horton, Benjamin Banneker Professor of History and American Studies, The George Washington University
Lois Horton, Professor of Sociology, George Mason University
Steven Mintz, Professor of History,University of Houston
William W. Freehling, Professor of History, University of Kentucky
Stanley L. Engerman, Professor of Economics and History, University of Rochester